Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Cosmos - Jar Of Jam Ton Of Bricks

Hi I'm back.

'got legitimate beef, full of goodness and grief'

I'm feeling pretty laid back at the moment. It is Summer after all. Maybe Cosmos' 'Jar Of Jam Ton Of Bricks' has something to do with this, I can't think of many albums released this year that is such a good companion to these lazy Summer days. It's the non-agenda that this album pushes that I like; there's a real peace to this collection of songs, not in a hippy sense but in a content sense, as if all there is to prove is that there is nothing to prove.

Cosmos is a collaboration between two songwriters, which I happened to come across because one of the said songwriters is Robert Pollard. To give a brief history, Pollard sang in one of my favourite rock bands Guided By Voices, who achieved fame after many years playing in their garages when Pollard was at the ripe old age of 36. Pollard is somewhat ridiculously prolific (there are jokes that he writes albums before lunchtime, I'd say they're written by the time he wakes up) and often releases countless albums in a year.

I've always been very grateful that Pollard has chosen to release so many of the 5,000 or so songs he claims to have written. People often complain that Pollard needs an editor because he releases too many of his songs. Maybe, but isn't it fun and rewarding to sift through his songs until you find one you particularly like? It could be seen as a waste of time, but what else am I going to do all day but listen to one of my favourite songwriters? I feel as I though I almost know this guy I've spent so much time him. Pollard often collaborates with his friends and other musicians on projects (presumably because writing hundreds of songs a year isn't satisfactory for someone like Pollard), 'Jar Of Jam Ton Of Bricks' being the latest one released this year. On this album, Pollard sings songs written by baroque-pop songwriter Richard Davies. The advantage of such collaborations for Pollard enthusiasts is that we get to hear his fine voice (which seems to only get better with age) in different musical contexts.

Unusually for Pollard, he shares some of the singing with Davies which gives the album a more collaborative feel. Davies had opted for a sparse recording style which gives the album a very intimate feel. It's as if the listener is sitting in on an early afternoon jam session with Pollard and Davies. I love the lazy shakes of maracas every so often, and the loose song structures give it an unrefined air. It reminds me of Simon Finn's 'Pass The Distance' because of the loose lead acoustic guitar lines Davies likes to play over his songs. There are a few rockier moments too which are fun.

'Jar Of Jam...' was released t'other day. Here's 'Zeppelin Commander'. Great song.

'You Had To Be There' is sung by Richard Davies. Both him and Pollard sound like wannabe Englishman. Cool.

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